Acidic water flowed for several hours into the Asalim Stream in the Judean Desert reserve. The source of the pollution is leakage from high-acid gypsum from a pool at the Rotem Amfert plant in Rotem Plateau in the south of Israel. Highway 90 was blocked for traffic between Dead Sea and Moshav Ein Tamar following the breach of the acidic water reservoir. After initially being blocked, the nearby Road 90 was reopened for traffic.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Nature and Parks Authority have arrived in the area and are preventing people from entering the stream, looking into minimizing damage and stopping the flow of acidic water. The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority is asking the public not to reach the Asalim Stream or nearby routes until further notice.
A crack in the wall of the reservoir's wall, caused from the water's high acidity level, caused the huge erosion and the pool collapsed and emptied. The water was washed for about 10 kilometers of Asalim Stream, with thousands of cubic meters of acid plaster pouring down the stream.
Gilad Gabbay, director of the Southern District of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, explained that "this is very acidic water that leaked from the plant, damaging the flora and fauna." He added that "animals in the area are liable to drink from (the polluted stream—ed). It also permeated the soil, which may affect other areas. "
Gabbay continued to say that "at this point, we are working in the field in cooperation with the other parties involved to minimize the damage to nature, and most importantly, to prevent harm to travelers, because any contact with the water is dangerous for them. At this stage, we estimate that the area that was damaged in the stream is more than ten kilometers long. "